LALIBELA, Northern Ethiopia (Ethiomedia) – Dozens of ruling party officials were killed and scores of others maimed when a landmine blew up their 45-seater bus near the historic town of Lalibela on Tuesday, rebel sources told Ethiomedia by phone on Wednesday. The victims were all members of the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), which is one of the four parties that make up the EPRDF coalition.
The rebel group Ethiopian Unity and Freedom Force (EUFF) said the officials were returning to Bahirdar after they had Christmas celebrations at Checheho Medhanialem Church on the border between Lasta and Gayint districts.
The news couldn’t be verified by an independent source, though previous reports by the rebel organization have never been disputed by the government in Addis.EUFF meanwhile warned civilians to avoid buses and other means of transportation used by ruling party and government officials.
Last week, at least 20 people were killed and 21 seriously injured when they were trying to put out a fire that had engulfed a fuel tanker belonging to the ruling party. The tanker had detonated a landmine. The incident attracted passengers of a bus but couldn’t escape death when the fully-loaded tanker exploded into a fireball and consumed all those who were there to fight the blaze.